Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Long Valley Pub

Another Polar Bear ride and this time about 70 miles away, not that many choices for a scenic drive.  The problem with New Jersey is that we rank 47th in area (8,721 sq mi) in the US and 11th in population with 8,791,894 (2010 Census) people, a density of 1,185/sq mi , ranked 1st in the US.  I knew we had to be first in something unfortunately the worst thing for us motorcyclists.  We are the second wealthiest state, hard to believe since we pay so much in taxes, specially property taxes.

The Delaware River in the background
In the 19th century, factories in cities such as Elizabeth, Paterson, and Trenton helped to drive the Industrial Revolution. New Jersey's position at the center of the Northeast megalopolis, between Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Baltimore, and Washington, D.C., fueled its rapid growth through the suburban boom of the 1950s and beyond.  Unfortunately we are also the corridor for everyone traveling north or south, the NJ Turnpike, one of the worst roads in the state.  The roads are always covered with state troopers but everyone drives at least 20mph above the limit and that includes trucks, really scary roads out here.

Canal next to the Delaware River
The only nice scenic roads are up north or along the Delaware River on the New Jersey or Pennsylvania side of the river, thus the reason why so many of our local rides end up going near the river or taking a detour through there.  There are lots of cute little towns with nice and cozy restaurants along the way.
I leave the house early so I can take a few pictures along the way before meeting my friends at 10am in the Kat Man Du parking lot in Trenton. 

I park my bike near the commemorative plaque for Lieutenant John Fitch, an American inventor, clockmaker, and silversmith who, in 1787, built the first recorded steam-powered boat in the United States.  As I took the picture, a double-decker NJ Transit train is seen crossing the bridge in the background.

The rest of the group arrives on time and I take a few pictures as they are rolling in.  I wish someone would do the same for me but I'm always the photographer and so never end up on any pictures. Oh, the life of an amateur photographer, always behind the lens.

 A Triumph ST, a Trophy and a BMW GS Adventure

We leave the Trenton area and head north along the river with my friend Wayne on the Triumph ST leading since he knows all the back roads in NJ.  I am always amazed how he knows his way around and doesn't even carry a GPS.   Our first stop is at the Lebanon Township Memorial Park where in the summer various concerts and fests are held.  The park has a memorial to Richard Cudina who was working in his Can­tor Fitzgerald office on the 105th floor of the north tower of the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001 when the buildings were destroyed.  The plaques are mounted on steel pieces from the site.

The center piece of the park includes a monument made with two steel beams from the World Trade Center site.  I will never forget that day.  Occasionally I would pass under the towers on the way to work in the city but on that day I was working at a client site in NJ.

The gang
We leave the park and head to the Long Valley Pub and Brewery located in Long Valley, a few miles down the road.  We arrive to find the parking lot full of other Polar Bear riders.  The day was relatively warm, high 40's and that brought a lot of riders out of hibernation.

I walk around admiring the beautiful and highly chromed Harley Davidson's and chatting with other riders.  I am still waiting for my Yamaha Tenere which for now will fill my desire for off-road adventure but at some time in my life I will get a big Harley to tour the country with my wife in total comfort behind me.

One motorcycle that I think was ahead of its time was the Rune. Honda introduced a limited edition model in 2003 named the Valkyrie Rune with a 1,832 cc (111.8 cu in) engine. It was a major departure from the original Valkyrie in styling and purpose.  It was also very expensive.

The Pub was full of riders waiting for a table and we decide to have lunch somewhere else.  We leave after a while and head towards Frenchtown, a little town with a population of about 1300 full of little picturesque restaurants.  We head to the Cafe Greco for a hearty meal.

Afterwards I take a walk to the first bridge across the Delaware at Frenchtown, a six-span covered wooden bridge built in 1841 on the five piers that still stand today, and the community became a gateway to Pennsylvania.

I am always fascinated with how these little communities had their start and love to visit Wikipedia for a little research.

From Wikipedia:
In 1757, three joint owners of a tract purchased from the West Jersey Land Society began laying out streets and building lots at Calvin's Ferry. The developing town was to be called "Alexandria" in honor of William Alexander, one of the three owners. In 1776, the three sold the settlement to Thomas Lowrey, a Flemington speculator.

In 1794, Lowrey sold the tract to Paul Henri Mallet-Prevost, a Swiss fugitive from the French Revolution. He and other early settlers were French speaking, leading some to begin calling the place "Frenchtown."

The town is full of art studios and galleries with a few stores selling French items.  It's a very cute town to take the family for a Sunday stroll.

It was still early but my friend Wayne wanted to go home to see the MotoGP race on TV.  The group heads home and my brother and I decide to ride out to the Van Sant Airport in Pennsylvania to watch the gliders.  We cross the bridge and head south west to the airport.  There were a few other riders at the airport but we didn't hang out for long as I too wanted to see the MotoGP race and still had about an hour to get home.

I get home a few minutes after 4pm and head straight for the family room to settle on the couch and watch the race but to my surprise Speed channel is not showing motorcycle racing.  I quickly check ESPN just in case but still nothing.   I call Wayne and find out he was wrong, the race was from 3 to 4 and not from 4 to 5 as he had said.  Oh well, missed the race so a quick trip to the computer to find out that Casey Stoner of the Repsol Honda Team had won the first MotoGP of 2011.  Jorge Lorenzo in the Yamaha Factory Racing team came second followed by two other Repsol Honda's with Ben Spies coming in 6th on the other Yamaha Factory Racing team bike.  Missed the race but had a nice riding day with friends.


  1. I regret to say that you miss a cracking good race, full of incidents. It was hard to keep up with everything that was happening. I laughed at the line in your post “I will get a big Harley to tour the country with my wife in total comfort behind me.” I recall one saying, said many years ago, by I don’t know who, which I am sure could have related to most men when it was said...”Ours is not to reasons why, our is just to do, or die”. That must have been written about men’s relationship with women.

    Have you got a date for that new bike yet?

  2. Looks like it was a gorgeous day to be out and about.

    I love Frenchtown!

    Do you have an ETA on the Tenere yet?

  3. Gary:
    Glad you feeling better. Can't wait to read about your trip to the Balkans ;-)
    Still no date on the Tenere :-( with lots of people speculating it won't arrive in May as expected but late June or even July :-(

    You do that next time ;-)

    As I said to Gary, Yamaha still says ETA is in May but there's lot of speculation as to why it won't get here on time. Now we have to worry about ships not going to Japan because the water contains radioactivity :-(

  4. GeorgeF:

    Too bad you didn't ride your Super Ten on this ride. (Super Ten) If I were riding the Concours I would be thinking all the while that this may be one of the last times so better get some photos of myself on it before it is gone, that is, if someone would be so kind as to aim your camera in your direction. (Super Ten)

    Not that you have Super Tenere on your mind or anything like that. I mean, You don't even have your Super Ten yet and we already know what your next bike is going to be (Super Tenere). Myself, I've never been a HD fan but I must admit they are probably one of the best for the highway, low RPM torque cruising effortlessly (Super Ten

    I don't know what it is but I can't get the Super Ten out of your mind.

    Frenchtown looks like a neat place. We don't have that much history here. Vancouver was only founded 125 years ago TODAY. When things get old they get torn down and something concrete and new goes up. (Super Tenere)

    I would be glad to snap your photo if you ever get within range (Super Ten)

    Riding the Wet Coast

  5. Great post George, nice red sprint there...........but then i am biased, I bet you are hanging out for the Tenere, any news on it's expected arrival?

  6. Roger:
    I knew you would like that shot of the ST ;-)
    Still no news, dealers don't know much.

  7. What a nice outing! Great pics, too. Spring's there. I wish you many miles of safe riding, and a not too long wait on the Tenere.

  8. Nice post George. I'm glad I don't live in the town called Flemington! When is your S10 coming?(just kidding!)

  9. Wonderful ride report and photos! What a beautiful day.

    I don't think anyone will forget 9-1-1 who was old enough to remember it. I certainly will not. I happened to catch the news live, and unedited. I have never been to New York, never saw the towers other than on TV.

    I may have mentioned it before, but my co-worker rides a Valkyrie, not a rune, but a beautiful bike just the same. He likes it very much. His wife doesn't ride, but he and his daughter often went for rides together.

  10. That's a pretty cool looking town. One of the best things about going out on a bike is running into little towns and seeing the nooks of america. Lots of towns are strange or a little freaky, but there are lots of cool places to check out if you've got the time.

    Behind Bars - Motorcycles and Life

  11. Sonja:
    Thank you and same to you :-) Let's hope Spring stays this time as we have had a few warm days followed by cold again.

    S10 coming? not soon enough ;-)

  12. Kari:
    Thank you.
    Never been to NY? what you waiting for, give me a buzz and I will show you guys some nice places in NY, I love NY. Like Cuban food? I know of a very nice Cuban place a block away from Times Square ;-)

    Agree with you, I specially like the south but haven't had a chance to visit Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi :-( There's a different culture down there that I would love to visit :-)